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The Wall Street Journal: Oil News Roundup: September 28, 2006 5:05 p.m.

September 28, 2006 5:05 p.m.

Crude-oil futures continued their recent volatile trade, rising as high as $64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange before falling below $63 after OPEC officials quashed speculation the group was cutting production to tighten supply. Here is Thursday’s roundup of oil and energy news.

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IRAQ OUT $16B: Iraq’s most important moneymaker — its oil industry — lost $16 billion in potential foreign sales over two years to insurgent attacks, criminals and bad equipment, a secret U.S. audit says. Iraq has the world’s third-highest proven reserves. But oil production slipped after the 2003 invasion, and the country has struggled to resume production to prewar levels. It is estimated that, in 2005, oil exports earned the country about $26 billion.

•China Tests Fusion Reactor: China announced the first successful test of an experimental thermonuclear fusion reactor, aiming for a cleaner, more powerful form of nuclear energy that mimics the power of the sun.

•Woodside Extends Takeover Offer: Woodside Petroleum said it extended its offer for Energy Partners after scoring a legal win in its $883 million takeover bid for the U.S. oil and gas producer. But analysts said it may still have to raise its offer.

•No Charges in Spill: Federal prosecutors in Seattle have decided not to pursue criminal charges against the company thought to be behind a 1,000-gallon oil spill in Puget Sound.

•The Gold/Oil Connection: The price trend of gold is likely to closely follow that of oil in the short term, but the correlation doesn’t exclude other factors, but analysts say the correlation is overstated and likely to be short-lived.

•Amtrak Chief Touts Rail Travel: Perhaps unsurprisingly, Amtrak’s new president said the U.S. should embrace rail travel at a time of growing transportation needs and high oil prices.

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